Chairman’s Speech at the Prize-Giving Ceremony of Government College Ibadan (GCI) held on the 4th of August 2023 and delivered by Mr. R.B Isewon73 Jan set 2613.
Our dear students and parents, invited guests, old boys of the school in attendance and all our distinguished friends and well-wishers, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome everyone.
The title of this short address is, “Guiding a smarter but less teachable generation”.
It may appear contradictory to describe an individual as being smarter and the same time less teachable, because from a rational point of view, a person so endowed ought to be able to learn better and faster, but alas, in the present times, this is not so.
What then is the problem?
Younger learners today know so much about so many things and are quite adept at mastering new gadgets no matter how sophisticated, for example new phones, games and computers. This is their generation, so it seems. Thanks to the internet and the ever present social media. There is hardly anything hidden from them and they are bombarded on every side by information and other attractions from the media space.
It is a well-known fact that the media is addictive, so that once you get on it, you get hooked and can spend hour after hour going from one site to another, from WhatsApp to Facebook, to Twitter, to Instagram, to Snapchat, endless as it seems. This is the original intention of the designers of the web, to keep users glued to it while keeping the traffic constantly steady to create the unending buzz and the huge potential for wealth that is associated with these activities. Expert psychologists and other professionals with deep knowledge of human nature were involved in creating the love and hunger for the social media particularly targeting the young and the young at heart.
There is absolutely no doubt that the internet is of tremendous benefit to mankind, with its store of vast knowledge accumulated by past and present civilizations and the ease with which this knowledge can be shared and accessed through communication. It has connected the world and in many ways made the world better.
However there is the opposite side, the not so good side particularly the side that has created the learning challenges facing so many young students unwilling to learn, making them less teachable even when they are smarter because of their exposure to so much information.
So how can the young student be guided to reap good harvest from the available learning time, while being bombarded by other, sometimes more interesting activities and information fighting for their attention?
The solution can be summarized into five main headings (i) Awareness (ii) Focus (ii) Choices (iv) Discipline (v) Perseverance.
The student should be made aware of the effect of constant surfing and flipping on the internet especially on the social media. Psychologically, constant use will shorten the attention span of the student needed for academic learning and learning for long-term memory.
It is necessary to sift through the torrent of incoming stimuli and focus on only those relevant to the task at hand or the end in view. There must be a goal to meet, to direct one’s attention or focus, otherwise the mind will be constantly shifting from one stimulus to another including the irrelevant time wasters.
Whether we like it or not, we must make choices so we must train our minds to make the right choices. A good choice must lead the student towards the goal in mind and shun distractions. This is where discipline comes in to keep on track.
Discipline is making oneself to do what has to be done whether one feels like it or not. If we don’t move ourselves, external factors or other persons may come to move us. An aspiring leader must not allow himself/herself to be driven here and there by just any wind. Without discipline, learning is hard especially academic learning like mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.
This just means sticking to it until the chosen task is completed. It begins with focus that is, selecting an end, a destination to reach and then applying discipline to keep on track and then perseverance to keep going when the energy is failing or flagging. The finish-line must be crossed! And then success.
In conclusion, adopting the above as guiding principles will transform any student from being merely smart to becoming highly teachable, doing homework and assignments, listening with good attention and meeting deadlines, all these to the teacher’s delight, no matter the circumstances.
God bless you all.
R.B. Isewon 73 Jan 2613
Chairman’s Speech at the 2023 Prize-Giving Ceremony of Government College, Ibadan
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